I applied to several graduate positions at European universities and I had two interviews. In the same day, I received a response from both places: a job offer from the first one and an invitation to the second stage of the interview from the second one. At that point, it is very clear what kind of research I’ll be doing in the first group. The second interview stage requires a few days of preparation from me and I will have an opportunity to discuss research projects after a potential acceptance.

I’d like to continue the interview and ask the first group whether they can afford one or two weeks of waiting for my response but I’m not sure how to best handle the matter:

  • Should I be honest and say that I’m waiting for a response from other graduate programs?

  • Should I mention any details about the other application (university name, group, research activities)?

  • What can I say to ensure them I’m not treating the first group just as a backup option? I’m definitely interested in the first group it’s just the second group might offer research projects which are more aligned with my interests; should I mention in the email that I’m waiting for an opportunity to discuss research projects in other interview?

In the end, I want to avoid a situation when the first group reaches out to some other applicant and I’m left without anything after a reject from the second interview. On the other hand, playing safe here might means losing a very valuable Ph.D. position.

Phrasing this as “graduate admissions” but it really could be anyone who asks about academic integrity e.g. in job interviews.

More details – I finished the (language) exam early and then noticed I’d accidentally left a dictionary in my drawer. In a moment of weakness I decided to double-check my answers and promptly got caught. I didn’t need to cheat – the teacher gave me 0 on the questions I cheated on, and I still scored 92/100.

I’ve never cheated since.

The incident is probably unverifiable at this point – the physical evidence is long gone, the teacher probably retired, the school probably didn’t keep records or has already destroyed it. I might be the only person on the planet who still remembers it. Should I tell graduate admissions? I suspect “no” since it was so long ago + I was eight years old, but I’m afraid I might be rationalizing.

In many countries an application for a PhD position includes a written research proposal, so my questions is what are some advises/strategies to come up with a good topic/idea for a PhD research proposal and how can one assess the quality/fruitfulness of an idea? As an undergraduate student one just doesn’t have the experience to foresee which ideas might have promising research results and which probably won’t have. (And I doubt that potential supervisors have the time to comment on every idea of every potential applicant in cases where it is possible to establish some kind of contact before the actual application.)

I’m an (international) electrical engineering applicant applied to some top-10 graduate programs in US (say, MIT, Caltech, UCB, etc.). As I check the entries of “thegradcafe.com” every day associated with the programs I’ve applied to, there are many entries which declare interviews with some POIs. So far, I have received no interview requests from any target school. Thus, I’m a little bit both curious about the importance of interview and anxious about the interpretation of such a lack of interviews in my case. To be specific, are all admitted students to top-tier engineering programs invited to interview before getting admitted? In other words, should I expect to be rejected if no one invites me to any sort of interview?

PS. If it helps to clear the situation, I’m currently an M.A.Sc student at a well-known Canadian university. So, both my university and my supervisor are pretty famous to the research community of my field.

I’m an (international) electrical engineering applicant applied to some top-10 graduate programs in US (say, MIT, Caltech, UCB, etc.). As I check the entries of “thegradcafe.com” every day associated with the programs I’ve applied to, there are many entries which declare interviews with some POIs. So far, I have received no interview requests from any target school. Thus, I’m a little bit both curious about the importance of interview and anxious about the interpretation of such a lack of interviews in my case. To be specific, are all admitted students to top-tier engineering programs invited to interview before getting admitted? In other words, should I expect to be rejected if no one invites me to any sort of interview?

PS. If it helps to clear the situation, I’m currently an M.A.Sc student at a well-known Canadian university. So, both my university and my supervisor are pretty famous to the research community of my field.

A prospective graduate student is normally not hyperspecialized and inflexibly hyperfocussed on a certain well-developed research line (like a more mature mid-career researcher could be) just yet.

That is to say, even if such student worked on topic “X” (say, in the area of algebraic geometry) for their master’s thesis, they may well be flexible and willing to expand their horizon and start working on any interesting topic in algebraic geometry that falls within a certain wide range “A” (that possibly includes “X”).

So, I assume, any reasonably well-known and conveniently located school with “good” mathematicians that work on a quite wide range “A” of topics within algebraic geometry is in principle a good fit for an application of said student.

In this context, what does it mean to tailor a statement of purpose for a specific school? In particular, how can one do so convincingly (enough to have fair chances of being admitted) and professionally (that is, without spouting empty buzzwords or vague claims of interest)?

I’m currently studying for a qualifying exam required by my M.S. program to get the degree and have also applied to continue onto a Ph.D. elsewhere (all of this in the U.S). This situation got me curious about a weird edge case:

What is likely to happen if I get accepted to a Ph.D. program, but later find out I have failed my qual/will not receive the M.S. degree?

I realize that no answer to this will be universally applicable, but the reason I ask is because I already have a B.S (what most of my fellow applicants have) and they don’t necessarily know that my M.S requires a qual in the first place (so admissions decisions were probably made taking into account my coursework, etc.). So, on the one hand, it seems like even supposing I didn’t receive the M.S. I am still an applicant with the same credentials as my fellow applicants + two years of additional grad level coursework + 2 years of MS project + 2 years of Research on top of these other things. On the other hand they accepted me expecting another degree which I don’t have.

I’m not too worried about this personally and intend to pass, but I was curious since it is a real possibility for me (most people get 2 or more chances at the quals, but since I am changing fields a bit I wanted to take certain classes to help in Ph.D. admissions during my first year and ended up with only one shot).

It would be nice if this got answered as generally as possible for future worriers, but if more specificity is needed I did a math undergrad/M.S. and applied to Comp. Sci. for PhD. Also, the M.S. was not done to bolster my record but instead just because I found funding and got more time to explore before jumping onto the PhD “treadmill” as some of my professors have described it (meaning, my undergrad would have made me a good math applicant with research experiences, 3.6+ GPA, strong letters, from a respected school, etc. should I have decided to apply straight out of it).

Anyhow sorry this got long, I was just trying to walk the line between keeping it general and making it unanswerable haha. (Also, as a little aside, I can retake it late in the summer but it’d be a pain travel/housing wise).

tl;dr
Accepted into PhD while in a MS elsewhere, but failed exam required for MS (all in USA). What happens?

If a student wins a scholarship (like the german DAAD scholarship, for example), does his chance for admission at an University to pursue a Masters degree increase?

Let’s say he fulfilled all of the requirements for admission. On top of that, he won a scholarship that fully funds his studies. Would he be given advantage over other candidates that applied for the same MSc program?

Some context here: I’m a physics student from Argentina about to get my MSc. I’m applying to a PhD in many universities of Europe and some of them (Oxford and Imperial College London, for example) ask for a Research Proposal.

I find it weird that I must commit to one specific topic before I even know anything about the area (I know some stuff, obviously, but I’d like to learn more before I choose one specific topic). This is different in the US Universities (where I’ve applied too) where you just apply for the PhD Position and then have one year to take courses and choose your group and research project.

Because of this, I thought that maybe it would be better if I write about two or three possible research topics within the area of the research proposal. Is this okay? To give further information: I want to apply to the Information Theory group of the Physics Department of Oxford and I’d like to write a proposal about Quantum Thermodynamics but also about information theory applications to fermionic systems and out-of-equilibibrium quantum dynamics. This three topics have nothing to do with one another but the group I’m applying to is working on them.